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5 Fun Facts About Plumbing On Boats

Have you ever wondered what it takes to use the loo on the high seas? Have you ever installed a fixture aboard a boat, or experienced a plumbing disaster like the infamous 2013 Carnival cruise?

While boats are surrounded by water, it can be ironically difficult to get fresh water to work properly. We were curious at SUPPLY.com, so we rounded up 5 facts about plumbing on boats that, unless you’re a sailing connoisseur, you probably didn’t already know.

THE NAUTICAL TERM FOR TOILET IS “HEAD”

The reason for this name is that, in the olden days of sailing, toilets were always placed at the head of the ship. Toilets were not, of course, the porcelain fixtures they are now but rather a hole in the ship leading to the ocean. The head of the ship was always downwind, and therefore the best area for a bathroom.

IT’S ILLEGAL TO DUMP SEWAGE IN THE OCEAN

Since the Clean Water Act of 1972, it’s illegal to dump untreated sewage in US coastal and inland waters. This helps reduce pollution in the oceans. A common solution is the holding tank, which literally holds the sewage until it can be disposed of onshore.

ODOR IS A CONSTANT PROBLEM

Not such a “fun” fact, it’s probably no surprise that it’s hard to keep a boat smelling fresh. A good way to eliminate bathroom odor on boats is to use a sanitation hose made from EPDM, a synthetic rubber material that will last a long time and typically not need to be replaced due to permeation problems.

ON THE BIGGEST CRUISE SHIP IN THE WORLD, THE PASSENGERS ALONE USE 1.5 MILLION LITERS PER DAY

According to the Shipyard Blog, the Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas is the largest cruise ship in the world and its capacity at 6,680 passengers are estimated to each use between 200 and 250 liters per day. To provide all this water, the cruise ship must use a desalination plant to convert sea water.

THE TITANIC FEATURED AUTOMATIC TOILETS

Before its tragic sinking, The Titanic was considered the peak in luxury of boat travel for its time. While first-class passengers experienced private baths, third-class passengers used public restrooms with automatic toilets, a far cry from the modern-day TOTO Washlet but a specialty at the time.

It’s a marvel how far we’ve come in plumbing technology! Would you be willing to take on a boat install?

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